Background Checks

How Much Do Background Checks Cost?

  • February 28, 2024
  • Adam Roy
  • Approx. Read Time: 8 Minutes
Top 5 Factors that Influence Background Check Costs

For your organization to succeed, you need talented employees who can handle a wide range of responsibilities. Running background checks as part of the hiring process is an effective way to increase the quality of your workforce. Here's what you need to know about how much a background check costs: 

    • Several factors affect the total cost of a background check. The scope of the background check has the biggest impact, as it influences the amount of time it takes to complete the process. 
    • Many organizations charge a fee to access their records, so you need to account for these fees when setting a budget for background checks. For example, you may need to pay for county and federal court records, increasing the total cost of your screening program. 
    • Rather than charging every client the same fee for a background check, Cisive offers custom pricing. This pricing structure ensures you pay only for the information you need to make a hiring decision. Cisive also integrates with all applicant tracking systems, increasing efficiency. 
    • Conducting background checks may help you reduce your organization's legal liability and increase compliance with relevant rules and regulations. 

Whether you're a hiring manager or an HR professional, you need a reliable way to vet potential employees. Background checks make it easier to verify each candidate's credentials. 

But how much does a background check cost? It depends on several factors, including what type of check you need and the amount of information required. 



Key Takeaways 

Here's what you need to know about background check pricing: 

        • Several factors affect the cost of a background check, including the type of check you need and the scope of the check. 
        • Background checks may cost anywhere from $25 to $200, but it depends on how much information you need and which vendor you use. 
        • Cisive offers custom pricing for background checks, giving you more control over the cost of your screening program. 
        • Adding background checks to your screening program may help you find high-quality employees, comply with regulatory requirements, and protect key stakeholders from harm. 


Table of Contents 

  1. 5 Key Factors that Influence Background Check Costs 
  2. How Much Do Background Checks Cost? 
  3. Are Background Checks Worth the Money? 
  4. Screen Your Workforce With Cisive


Cost 1


5 Key Factors that Influence Background Check Costs 

Background checks are an important part of the hiring process. One of the best reasons to do background checks is to verify the information provided by potential employees. 

It's easy for applicants to embellish their work experience or provide inaccurate information about their educational achievements. A comprehensive background check makes it easier to eliminate dishonest candidates before they gain access to your company's resources. 

If your employees have contact with vulnerable individuals, conducting background checks may also help you avoid hiring people with a history of violent offenses. For example, if you're in charge of hiring nursing home staff, you need to check for a history of assault, battery, abuse, and neglect. 

You may even be required by law to conduct background checks before hiring certain employees. If your company operates in the transportation industry, for example, you may be required to check state motor vehicle records and conduct regular drug tests to protect the community. 

In other words, background checks are essential for finding high-quality employees. Although all background checks have value, some cost more than others. 

The cost of a background check depends on these five factors. 


1. Type of Background Check 

There's no one-size-fits-all background check that fits every company's needs. You may need any of the following: 

        • Identity verification: Data breaches happen all the time, exposing people's names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and other personal data. Identity verification helps you confirm that a candidate is who they claim to be. 
        • Credit check: A credit check uncovers valuable information about potential employees, such as how much debt they have and whether they have any tax liens or legal judgments. It's helpful to conduct this type of check before giving someone access to company funds or confidential data. 
        • Criminal background check: A criminal background check helps you determine if a potential employee has any concerning offenses in their background. This type of check usually looks for misdemeanors, felonies, warrants, and other issues. 
        • Fingerprinting: If your organization works with vulnerable individuals, you may be required to fingerprint potential employees. Fingerprinting typically uncovers arrests, criminal charges, and convictions. 
        • Employment eligibility: If you receive funding from state or federal agencies, you may be prohibited from hiring employees with a history of professional sanctions. Some background checks look for these sanctions, ensuring you don't violate any laws or program guidelines. 


Recommended Reading: 10 Best Background Check Companies in 2024 


2. Scope 

The scope of a background check also has an impact on how much it costs. Some checks use basic records, while others require in-depth investigations. 

For example, if you work for a healthcare organization, you may have to perform a criminal background check, look for professional sanctions, and pay for fingerprinting. If you don't hire people for safety-sensitive positions, a simple identity verification may be enough to meet your needs. 

The more records you need to check, the more expensive a background check is likely to be. 


 Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


3. Amount of Information Required 

Some vendors offer multiple versions of the same background check, giving you extra flexibility. If you have to perform a criminal check, for example, your preferred vendor may give you the option of doing a basic check (federal records only) or something more comprehensive (state and county records, plus a sex offender registry search). 

The more information you need, the more you can expect to pay for a background check. Checking multiple records takes longer, and the vendor may also have to pay a separate fee to access each database, increasing the total cost.  


4. Work License Verification 

If you hire licensed professionals, work license verification is an important part of the screening process. You need to know that the people you hire have the credentials listed on their job applications and résumés. 

Verifying a work license takes extra time, so it typically adds to the cost of a background check. It may cost even more if a candidate has multiple licenses to verify. 


5. Education Verification 

In some industries, on-the-job learning is par for the course, as not every role requires a degree or a training certificate. 

However, some professions have strict educational requirements. If you hire physicians, nurses, engineers, or other degreed employees, you may have to pay more for each background check. 


How Much Do Background Checks Cost? 

Remember, the type of background check you need, the scope of the background check, and the additional verifications you order all affect the total cost of background screening. Depending on which vendor you use, you can generally expect to pay anywhere from $25 for basic identity verification to more than $200 for a thorough background check. 

Some background check companies offer custom pricing, giving you total control over the cost of your screening program. If you choose a vendor that charges the same fee for every check you complete, you may be paying for information you don't need. 

For example, maybe you need basic identity verification on one candidate and in-depth criminal background checks on another candidate. It doesn't make sense to pay a high fee for basic identity verification, but that's what might happen if you choose a vendor that charges the same amount for every product. 

Look for a screener whose technology is 100% compatible with any applicant tracking system. Many companies charge additional fees for ATS integration, so working with a partner who doesn't charge for this service is a great way to keep your screening costs in check.  

Note that public agencies, licensing bodies, and other organizations often charge fees to access background information. These fees typically aren't included in the price of a background check. 


Cost 2


Are Background Checks Worth the Money? 

Background checks are absolutely worth the money, especially if you work in a highly regulated industry. Here are just a few reasons to consider adding background checks to your existing screening program. 


Reduced Liability 

If an employee harms someone, your organization may be held liable for their conduct, even if it occurs outside their scope of employment. For example, if one of your nursing assistants assaults an elderly nursing home resident, you may be held liable. 

You may not be able to prevent every instance of harm, but you can greatly reduce the risk by conducting criminal background checks. These checks are especially important if you hire people to work with children, senior citizens, or disabled adults. 

A criminal background check may help you avoid onboarding someone with a history of assault, child abuse, elder abuse, or another serious offense. 


Recommended Reading: Master the 4 C's of Onboarding 


Increased Productivity 

Many background checks focus on criminal records, but it's also important to verify a candidate's credentials before you extend an offer of employment. Otherwise, you may end up wasting time with a new hire who can't perform the essential functions of the job. 

For example, if a candidate claims to have extensive experience with accounting, it's possible to verify their accounting degree and check their employment history to determine if they've worked for any accounting firms. 

If you don't conduct a background check, you may end up hiring someone who can barely use a calculator instead of someone who has experience with accounts payable, accounts receivable, and budget reconciliation. Even if you terminate them quickly, making a bad hire wastes time and frustrates everyone who has to pick up the slack. 


Recommended Reading: What's the Real Cost of a Bad Hire? 


Legal Compliance 

Organizations in the healthcare, finance, transportation, education, and childcare industries must perform background checks before hiring employees for certain roles. If you don't perform a required background check, your organization may face steep fines and other penalties. 

Failing to perform a thorough background check may also cause your organization to lose one of its accreditations or certifications. Therefore, partnering with a reliable background check services company makes it easier to comply with your obligations. 


Screen Your Workforce With Cisive 

Background check cost is an important consideration, but you also need to consider the scope and accuracy of each check. Generally, the more information you need, the more you can expect to pay for background screening. 

If you aren't already doing background checks, consider adding them to your current hiring process. Thorough screening may help you avoid hiring unqualified employees, prevent harm to key stakeholders, and comply with your regulatory obligations. 

At Cisive, we're dedicated to providing accurate, legally compliant background checks to clients in every industry. We have a 99.9994% accuracy rate, making it easier to meet your hiring objectives while delivering an excellent candidate experience. 

Cisive also offers multiple screening options, ensuring you get the information you need to make wise hiring decisions. Available services include employment verification, education verification, fingerprinting, sanctions checks, motor vehicle records checks, and criminal background checks.

Speak to an expert today to learn more about Cisive's custom screening solutions. 


 Screen smarter, hire safer. Get the right talent to drive your success. Speak to an expert.


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